FAMOUS ARTIST Mihail Cernescu
• Name: Cernescu
• First Name: Mihail
• Date of Birth: 05.07.1949
• Place of Birth: Drobeta Turnu Severin, Roumanie
• Education: Theoretical High School in Drobeta, with a Bachelor’s degree.
• Foreign Languages: French, Russian, Italian, and a bit of English.
In my biography, my relationships and contact with painting began as early as primary school when I used to draw with ink the portraits of writers and the illustrations from the Romanian language textbooks that appeared in every lesson. My notebook was archived by the school as an exceptional document from a talented 6th-grade student.
The genetic inheritance of talent comes from my grandfather, uncle, and father, all of whom worked in the field of art. My uncle, in particular, had an art studio where I used to go and admire his works.
Over time, I demonstrated that painting was not far from my abilities. During high school, I had orders for paintings (reproductions) that I executed with great accuracy. During holidays on the coast, I created portraits for tourists and earned good money.
After completing high school, I attempted the entrance exam for the Faculty of Fine Arts but didn’t succeed because the available spots were limited, and there were more candidates than available places. In those days, getting into college required connections and recommendations, which I didn’t have.
I decided to continue as a self-taught artist, studying the works of the great masters of European and world painting. I sought a job that would allow me to engage with art, so in 1974, I obtained a position as a makeup artist at the Romanian Opera in Timișoara through a competitive exam. From the beginning, I was appreciated by colleagues and the opera management, and I was soon selected for tours as the sole makeup artist, successfully fulfilling my duties.
At home, I set up an art studio equipped with everything I needed, and I began to work, receiving commissions from friends, collectors, and even foreigners, including Italians and Germans. This allowed me to combine live painting at the opera with canvas painting.
I had the opportunity to paint artworks for various premieres, such as the opera “The Sun of London,” which was appreciated by both colleagues and the audience.
After the Revolution, my activity in the field of painting expanded, and I received complex commissions from individuals with financial resources, both from Romania and abroad. I was called upon for hotel restorations and private collections. I reproduced paintings by classical artists in various styles, from Rembrandt to Dali and Picasso.
During tours in the Netherlands, I created oil portraits of set designers and directors, and upon completion, the Dutch were amazed by the quality of my work in the Flemish style.
I excelled in the field of makeup as well. Even when working alone, I managed to apply makeup to approximately 30 artists in just two hours. Artists from all over the world were impressed by my skills.
Thus, the Academy of Arts in Moscow, under the leadership of the great ballerina Arhipova, organized a competition among the most talented artists from European operas, and I was chosen by a majority vote in the makeup category. I received the title of the best makeup artist in Europe at a festive event in Timișoara, and my medal was presented to me by the renowned Russian tenor Vladislav Piavko.
Time passed, and I no longer had the opportunity to continue my studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts, as I had spent many years in the artistic field, and my career had evolved in a direction that did not require further formal education. Nevertheless, my work at the opera was successful, and my passion for painting always remained at the core of my life. I had the chance to work in scenography during European tours, intervening in the modification and repainting of sets before performances.
One of the highlights of my career was in the year 2000 when, as a makeup artist at the Opera in the Netherlands, I restored the sets for the opera “Rigoletto,” allowing us to enter England for performances after the sets were fireproofed and restored by me in just ten days, in a remarkable effort.
This is a brief glimpse into my life and my rich career in art and makeup.